August: Peridot

The modern birthstone for the month of August is peridot

The vivid green of the peridot, with just a slight hint of gold, is the ideal gemstone color to go with that light summer wardrobe. It is after all the gemstone of the summer month of August.

The peridot is a very old gemstone, which has become very popular again today. It is so ancient that it can be found in Egyptian jewelry from the early 2nd millennium B.C.. The stones used at that time came from a deposit on a small volcanic island in the Red Sea, some 45 miles off the Egyptian coast at Aswan, which was not rediscovered until about 1900 and has since been exhausted for quite some time. With that said, the peridot is also a thoroughly modern gemstone, for it was not until a few years ago that peridot deposits were located in the Kashmir region; and the stones from those deposits, being of an incomparably beautiful color and transparency, have succeeded in giving a good polish to the image of this beautiful gemstone, which had paled somewhat over the millennia.

ICA

How green? It all depends on the iron

This gemstone has no fewer than three names: ‘peridot’, ‘chrysolite’, from the Greek ‘gold stone’, and ‘olivine’, for the peridot is the gemstone form of the mineral olivine. In the gemstone trade it is called ‘peridot’, derived from the Greek word ‘peridona’, which means something like ‘to give richness’.

The peridot is one of the few gemstones which come in one color only. The rich, green colour with the slight tinge of gold is caused by very fine traces of iron. From a chemical point of view, peridot is an iron magnesium silicate. The intensity of the colour depends on the amount of iron actually present. The color itself can vary over all shades of yellowish green and olive, and even to a brownish green. Peridot is not particularly hard – only 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale – but it is easy to look after and fairly robust. Peridot cat’s eyes and star peridot are particularly rare and precious.

The most beautiful stones come from the border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan. However, the peridot as a gemstone also exists in Myanmar, China, the USA, Africa and Australia. Stones from East Burma, now known as Myanmar, have a vivid light green and fine inclusions with a silky shine to them. Peridot from Arizona, where it is popularly used in native American jewelry, often has somewhat yellowish or gold-brown nuances.

An ideal summer stone

The peridot adds a wonderful variant to the colour spectrum of green gemstones. Increasingly, it is processed not only to one-offs, but also for use in series jewellery. And since the world of fashion is just in the process of rediscovering its love for the color green, the popularity of this rich green gemstone is also very much on the up.

Thanks to the rich finds in Pakistan and Afghanistan, there is enough raw material on the market, so the ‘right stone’ can now be found to cater for each individual taste and each pocket. Large, transparent stones of an intense color are, however, rare and correspondingly expensive. The peridot is a gemstone that you should definitely get to know better. Its fine pistachio to olive green is the perfect complement to a fresh, light summer wardrobe.

Zodiac gemstone for leo:   onyx

Ancient traditional birthstones:

Hebrew: carnelian

Roman: carnelian

Arabic: sardonyx

Hindu: ruby

Polish: sardonyx

Russian: alexandrite

Guardian angel: verchiel

His talismanic stone: : diamond

Reference:  Crystal User’s Handbook by Judy Hall, ICA website

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